Summary: A sermon on the poor, the mourning, the hungry, and the persecuted (Introduction taken from Sermon Central's Adrian Pratt at: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/inside-out-and-upside-down-adrian-pratt-sermon-on-christian-love-33979.asp)
Inside out and upside down. What on earth was Jesus talking about here? Blessed are the poor? Happy are the hungry? Fortunate are the tearful? I never heard anybody say, “Isn’t this great, I’m starving!” I have never seen a person sobbing their heart out with a smile of joy on their face. Have we? It makes me uneasy the way Jesus speaks about rich, easy going folk who enjoy a good time and are well respected in the eyes of almost everybody. On a worldwide scale the U.S. is a rich place. This nation is way, way, way up there in terms of Gross National product, income, life expectancy, health care, educational opportunity, and military might. In terms of what this world calls rich, if we live in the United States, we are the number one spot.
These Scriptures probably sound somewhat familiar. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus there gives what we call the Beatitudes. Blessed are the... However, Matthew’s are different because they are more spiritual in nature. Luke records a different set of beatitudes. Now, this was given through the preaching of Jesus, actual words from his lips. Luke is not changing the words of Jesus. Two different sermons, one on the Mount in Matthew and another on the Plain level place- Luke 6:17. Similarities are because delivered by the same person Jesus
“Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.” Colossians 4:14, NIV. The more proper term here is physician. In the NT, we find that there were doctors, physicians who were sought out for medical treatment. “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Luke 5:31, NIV. “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” Mark 5:26, NIV- more positive reference to medical doctors in Luke 8:43.
Luke left a profitable business, profession, career to follow Christ by following Paul. See how he draws out references to the poor and selling all for Christ. Something to think about.
Over the next several months going to talk about money, wealth vs. poverty and stewardship from Luke. Stories and teachings that are somewhat unique to Luke’s gospel.
Luke’s emphasis in his gospel is on the here and now. This emphasis is found in numerous passages in Luke. For example, “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23, NIV.
Luke, through the actual words of Jesus, underlines the contrast between, on the one hand, people who are in desperate circumstances (the poor, the hungry, those who mourn and those who are persecuted) and, on the other hand, people who are self satisfied and complacent. In numerous passages in Luke the Holy Spirit attacks complacency and stresses the particular concern of Jesus for the poor, for those in need and for those on the margins of society.
Those who live the life of the kingdom are not just blessed in the hereafter but right now.
Often there are people who say the beatitudes like this, “Happy are the...” Blessed means more than that but happiness is definitely there. The Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote 10 books on ethics and he is concerned with the nature of happiness. Basic premise is that the true end of men and women is to be happy. Jesus does not disagree with this. But of what does true happiness consist? This is where the worldly answers and the answers of the Bible disagree. The world says these things are happiness: “Wealth, I feel good, all my needs are met, and popularity” Jesus is talking to people that do not have these things. Jesus and the gospel goes deeper than these things.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the poor, the mourning, the hungry and the persecuted
Vs. 20- “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,” Luke 4:18, NIV.
Often the poor sense their need of God more than others. They are utterly dependent upon God. They have no sense of security, except in God alone. If people have their own security apart from God, tendency to have no need for the “good news” Jesus preaches to the poor. Not that the rich do not find their security in God but it is more difficult and more unlikely. The rich have a false sense of comfort. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34, NIV. The heart naturally follows the treasure, so treasure in heaven means a heart fixed on heaven, while treasure on earth equally means a heart fixed on earth.